Following a year-long delay, the West Sammamish Bridge project is expected to begin construction in March.
At its Jan. 21 meeting, the Kenmore City Council unanimously authorized the city manager to execute a construction contract with Ceccanti, Inc., who was the second-lowest bidder with a $30.3 million base bid. The amount comes with a 10 percent construction contingency.
The project includes the replacement of the entire west (southbound) bridge, which was constructed in 1938. Weight restrictions were imposed on the bridge in 2014 by council.
“It’s been a long time coming, and I’m very excited to be here tonight to actually tie this bow together and wrap it up and send it off,” Kenmore city engineer John Vicente said ahead of the vote.
Kraemer NW, the highest bidder, was rejected because of bid errors and non-responsiveness as determined by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
WSDOT had, in turn, reviewed Ceccanti’s bid and approved it ahead of the Jan. 21 Kenmore council meeting.
Other additions coming from the project include enhanced lighting, drainage, signal and landscaping improvements; utility undergrounding; and enlarged bike lanes and sidewalks between Northeast 170th Street and Northeast 175th Street.
According to the city, the project should be finished by 2022. Once completed, the project’s permits necessitate that the natural environment in the area be monitored over the next 10 years.
“It’s going to be three years of traffic impacts, river impacts — plan for a lot of extra time,” Vicente said.
Construction is broken down into three phases. The first, which Vicente said will primarily take up 2020, entails the removal of the pedestrian walkway on the existing bridge. Construction work will start for access roads, temporary road trestles and the western half of the bridge, according to meeting documents.
Activities like paving and striping, construction of major bridge elements and phase transitioning will be restricted to nighttime.
For the second phase, which will start in 2021, southbound traffic will be transferred to the newly constructed western part of the bridge. The rest of the old bridge will be demolished; the eastern bridge piers and the remainder of the new bridge will be constructed. Replacements of the northbound traffic barrier and street lighting will also be installed, according to the meeting agenda item.
And during the third phase, southbound traffic will be moved to the new travel lanes. New railings on the east and west bridge sections will be implemented, as will new architectural treatments. Sidewalk and bike lane paths will be completed as well, per meeting documents.
“During our peak periods, we’re going to do our best to maintain two lanes in each direction,” Vicente said.
Still, the project is anticipated to have a big effect on roadway and river traffic. Construction hours will see travel lanes more than likely reduced to one lane in each direction.
“During non-working hours, every attempt will be made to restore traffic to two lanes in each direction but that will weigh heavily on the current activities occurring at that time,” states the meeting agenda item. “River traffic will be impacted periodically. Boat traffic will be managed similarly to roadway traffic with flaggers and buoys utilized to maintain the flow. Occasional disruption of passage under the bridges will occur from time to time for safety reason [sic].”
When asked about potential southbound-backup mitigation by Mayor Dave Baker, Vicente said it was unlikely anything would be able to be done.
“Given how restrictive the area is and how congested it already is today, when we take a lane it’s just going to have to be a pain of construction,” Vicente said. “I don’t really think we can do much. The most we can tell people is, ‘Give yourself plenty of time. Maybe plan alternative routes, alternative ideas of what to do.’”
At the Jan. 27 council meeting, which was after the Reporter’s print deadline, council was scheduled to vote on a contract with KBA, Inc. for construction management services.
The project is supported by funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) highway bridge programs, the federal Surface Transportation program, Connecting Washington State, the Transportation Improvement Board, the city and Northshore Utility District (and other utilities within project limits), according to the city of Kenmore’s website.
For more background on the project, including upcoming public outreach efforts, go to bit.ly/2RjUdHy. To watch the full discussion at the Jan. 21 Kenmore City Council meeting, go bit.ly/30PDQ8w. For construction updates, go to www.kenmoreconstruction.com.